The GOP's Continuing Betrayal of Its Rock Stars
As if running moderate Republicans in two consecutive national elections (and losing) wasn't enough, some of the GOP's latest attempts to find their inner coolness have been successful only at one thing: letting the left and their pals in the media dictate the direction of the Republican Party.
Fairly recently, we were informed of top-level RNC employees putting forth an initiative to hand out mid-level positions to various minorities. This was pointed out by a longtime D.C. insider, who talked about it in an article published at The Hill. Not only are the D.C. experts implementing ultra-affirmative-action measures to prove that they can "reach out," but none of them (white guys in suits) seems willing to put his own top-level positions on the chopping block for the sake of the cause. This gives the left a double-talking point. It projects hopelessness for liberty and equal opportunity based on merit, and the RNC is now just as guilty as the left is of wanting to micromanage from the top.
Even more recent, a study was conducted by the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). Its focus was on the youth vote, and it sought to answer why Romney failed to capture it. This was important to them, since conservatives like Reagan mysteriously did just fine with the youth vote. I was sorry to see that no part of their study, however, focused on the simplicity of Reagan's conservative message. Reagan enjoyed being a rebel where the establishment was concerned and, even more so, was not afraid of annoying the left. Causing a ruckus for the right cause usually excites young voters who love a fight with the establishment. Nevertheless, the GOP wants to continue compromising -- an art that has us with a pointless debt-ceiling limit with "trillion" as its measuring unit.
The study was also featured on The O'Reilly Factor a few nights ago. In it, they claim (among other things) that GOP candidates have to be in touch with pop culture. They further claim that we must "advertise in mediums used by young people." As O'Reilly summarized, we want a "candidate that tweets." He then concluded the segment by saying that what it "comes down to" is a "charismatic candidate" who "speaks their [young voters'] language."
There is some truth in all that. Our spokespeople have to be in line with the kind of messaging that works. Usually, the more clear and concise the message is, the better the result. Are we a party that believes in the power of the individual, or not? If not, what are we going to hand out for free? It's also beneficial to have conservatives confident enough to step outside of their comfort zones to bring the message to places where Americans will accept it as refreshing.
The problem is, when the current crop of obvious conservative rock stars either take their messages to bigger platforms or use their time in office to live up to their campaign promises, the usual old guards in the GOP are the first in line to attack. Their choice to continue doing so results in an inaccurate revelation for the left which suggests that the more conservative a candidate is, the easier it is for liberals to win elections.
Senator Ted Cruz campaigned against the GOP establishment's candidate in the 2012 Senate primary. He was the perceived ultra-right-wing candidate the left just couldn't wait to run against. The GOP couldn't stomach the idea of having a true conservative represent them so the big money went with David Dewhurst in the primary. With the support of the Tea Party and an endorsement by Sarah Palin, Cruz was able to catch up with Dewhurst in the primary, forcing him into a run-off election. Cruz went on to win with a comfortable margin.
Surely the GOP's biggest rock star in the Senate, Cruz is reluctant to jump on board with policies which have proven to fail in the past. Despite being a Harvard grad, he aligns himself with the same common sense that warns the rest of us of repeating such policies. He opposes amnesty (currently being dressed up as something else). He opposes "compromise" on a budget that the rest of us know will lead to another debt-ceiling increase. As such, he's winning the ire of John McCain and Susan Collins, not to mention writers on the left furious that he won't "respect his elders," suggesting he's "rude" and that he "doesn't get the Senate."
Similarly, Senator Rand Paul led a lengthy filibuster a few months back on the government's position on the use of drones. Senator Ted Cruz jumped in to back him. As the filibuster progressed, other Republicans jumped in, and as the article referenced mentions, they used quotes from "pop culture and literature" to make their case. When the filibuster ended, young voters witnessed the power of democracy in a republic and were encouraged by it.
Senators Cruz and Paul, however, can hardly be mentioned without thinking of Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. As Senator Cruz himself has said, she "jumped in early" and supported candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and others who are fighting to "reach out" effectively.
Isn't it interesting how Bill Clinton can show up on Arsenio Hall's program playing a saxophone -- or Obama can dance with Ellen -- and be praised for it? Yet when Sarah Palin shows up on Dancing With the Stars or puts out a family-friendly reality show celebrating Alaska's greatness, fellow GOP talking heads refer to her as a "Kardashian." By using the media's insatiable love for ratings, Palin has been able to show up on the Today Show, knock out Katie Couric accordingly, and leave her co-hosts speechless as she publicly rooted for more constitutionally conservative candidates in an election year. In going outside her comfort zone, she used huge platforms to spread the message of conservatism.
Scaling down that platform recently, Palin gave a speech to a graduating class in a small Washington town. There, she presented each graduate with a dollar bill, had them all stand up to find it under their seats and said: "you've got to get off your butt to make a buck." This is a message likely to stick with these graduates for years to come.
Cruz, Paul, and Palin have stuck to their conservative principles and have used the power of public service combined with avenues like social media to effectively reach young voters. That the ever-increasingly frustrated left continues to bash them confirms it.
What's puzzling, though, is how the GOP nonsensically doubles up not only on those attacks, but on the same policies we are supposed to be opposing as a party capable of winning national elections.
Steve Flesher is a contributing editor at Conservatives4Palin.